<p>One of Bjork’s favorite new musical instruments gets an iPhone/iPad app.</p>
The Reactable made a big splash on the music scene back in 2005 when it debuted at the International Computer Music Conference in Barcelona. It was heralded as a revolutionary new electronic instrument, and in some ways it was, though it’s unclear whether it ever lived up to its potential. Regardless, it was one of the first tools for music creation and performance to use a tangible user interface and a multi-touch screen back before multi-touch became commonplace courtesy of Apple. The device is a large, illuminated table on which performers move around a series of objects called “pucks” to manipulate different elements like synthesizers, effects, sample loops and controls. Looking something like a cross between a science museum display and a Japanese gaming toy, the Reactable was certainly beautiful and impressive, if a little unwieldy, and caught the attention of many experimental musicians. Not long after its debut, Bjork brought one on tour with her and used it in her live performances.
But the Reactable never caught on the way some people thought it would, largely due to the fact that it was so large and expensive. That’s all subject to change though with the release of their mobile apps for iPad and iPhone. Replicating the interface for the small screen seems like a natural transition for the Reactable team, and will surely aid in its proliferation as a music instrument and interface amongst the iPad/iPhone wielding masses.